cycling - level of "safety"

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by gds, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. gds

    gds Guest

    There have been lots of threads that have discussed cycling as a safe
    or non safe activity.

    This weekend a local paper here in Tucson pulished some interesting
    data. Folks can form their own opinions as to what it means.

    Tucson has a population of ~400,000.

    The numbers are year to date.

    Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------ 5

    Number of REPORTED cyclist / vehicle incidents---------- ~500

    Police assigned blame about equally beteen cyclists and motorists.

    #1 fault for cyclists was riding in traffic in the wrong direction.

    #1 fault for motorists was "hooking" (rt turn into a cyclist)

    BTW Tucson consistently wins awards as being a bicycle friendly
    community. And as a resident cyclist I find it a very pleasant place to
    ride. But these numbers strike me as indicative that cycling has more
    than minimal risk.
     
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  2. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> There have been lots of threads that have discussed cycling as a
    :> safe or non safe activity.
    :>
    :> This weekend a local paper here in Tucson pulished some interesting
    :> data. Folks can form their own opinions as to what it means.
    :>
    :> Tucson has a population of ~400,000.
    :>
    :> The numbers are year to date.
    :>
    :> Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------ 5

    0.00125%

    :>
    :> Number of REPORTED cyclist / vehicle incidents---------- ~500

    0.125%

    :>
    :> Police assigned blame about equally beteen cyclists and motorists.
    :>
    :> #1 fault for cyclists was riding in traffic in the wrong direction.
    :>
    :> #1 fault for motorists was "hooking" (rt turn into a cyclist)
    :>
    :> BTW Tucson consistently wins awards as being a bicycle friendly
    :> community. And as a resident cyclist I find it a very pleasant place
    :> to ride. But these numbers strike me as indicative that cycling has
    :> more than minimal risk.

    What is the heck is your idea of minimal risk? You're just scary, dude.
    Come ride in SC!!!!!
     
  3. gds

    gds Guest

    Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist
    deaths in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?
     
  4. Ken M

    Ken M Guest

    gds wrote:
    > There have been lots of threads that have discussed cycling as a safe
    > or non safe activity.
    >
    > This weekend a local paper here in Tucson pulished some interesting
    > data. Folks can form their own opinions as to what it means.
    >
    > Tucson has a population of ~400,000.
    >
    > The numbers are year to date.
    >
    > Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------ 5
    >

    This is not a bad number. I can seem to remember just about as many in
    the Sarasota county here in Florida, with about the same population.

    > Number of REPORTED cyclist / vehicle incidents---------- ~500
    >
    > Police assigned blame about equally beteen cyclists and motorists.
    >
    > #1 fault for cyclists was riding in traffic in the wrong direction.
    >

    That is a common casual cyclist mistake.

    > #1 fault for motorists was "hooking" (rt turn into a cyclist)
    >
    > BTW Tucson consistently wins awards as being a bicycle friendly
    > community. And as a resident cyclist I find it a very pleasant place to
    > ride. But these numbers strike me as indicative that cycling has more
    > than minimal risk.
    >


    Ken
    --
    Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~John F. Kennedy
     
  5. gds

    gds Guest

    Ken M wrote:
    ..
    > >
    > > Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------ 5
    > >

    > This is not a bad number. I can seem to remember just about as many in
    > the Sarasota county here in Florida, with about the same population.
    >


    I think any positive integer is "bad" in the sense that we should be
    motivated to reduce it. But if you are saying that 5 per year/400,000
    is not a large number then I would agree.

    I guess that my point would be more that if the major offenses are
    riding against traffic and hooking are the major causes of deaths and
    of other incidents it is indicative of the need for better training and
    enforcement of rules for both cyclists and motorists.
    I don't believe that cycling is a high risk activity, but I also am not
    satisfied that enough is being done to improve safety. The most common
    infractions are really a matter of poor cycling and and driving
    knowledge and behavior and thus can be improved.

    And while the definition of the denominators is problematic for
    determining rates 5 cyclist deaths in Tucson this year exceeds the
    absolute number for such other activiites as: rock climbing,
    running/jogging, basketball, football, tennis, hot air balloning,
    flying, golf, baseball, etc. And since it is the absolute number that
    grabs many folks attention it is that number that sometimes results in
    the impression that cycling is not very safe; even if the rate per
    miles cycled is extremely low.
     
  6. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist
    :> deaths in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?

    No, I'm saying that if that small risk is too much for you that you should
    hang up your pedals. Stay off the roads if you can't accept some risk.

    IMO, no death is insignificant.
     
  7. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> Ken M wrote:
    :> .
    :>> >
    :>> > Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------
    :>> > 5
    :>> >
    :>> This is not a bad number. I can seem to remember just about as many
    :>> in the Sarasota county here in Florida, with about the same
    :>> population.
    :>>
    :>
    :> I think any positive integer is "bad" in the sense that we should be
    :> motivated to reduce it. But if you are saying that 5 per year/400,000
    :> is not a large number then I would agree.
    :>
    :> I guess that my point would be more that if the major offenses are
    :> riding against traffic and hooking are the major causes of deaths and
    :> of other incidents it is indicative of the need for better training
    :> and enforcement of rules for both cyclists and motorists.
    :> I don't believe that cycling is a high risk activity, but I also am
    :> not satisfied that enough is being done to improve safety. The most
    :> common infractions are really a matter of poor cycling and and
    :> driving knowledge and behavior and thus can be improved.
    :>
    :> And while the definition of the denominators is problematic for
    :> determining rates 5 cyclist deaths in Tucson this year exceeds the
    :> absolute number for such other activiites as: rock climbing,
    :> running/jogging, basketball, football, tennis, hot air balloning,
    :> flying, golf, baseball, etc. And since it is the absolute number that
    :> grabs many folks attention it is that number that sometimes results
    :> in the impression that cycling is not very safe; even if the rate per
    :> miles cycled is extremely low.

    Just for info, what are the numbers for motorist in Tucson? How many deaths
    and how many reported injuries?
     
  8. gds

    gds Guest

    Roger Zoul wrote:
    > gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    > :> Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist
    > :> deaths in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?
    >
    > No, I'm saying that if that small risk is too much for you that you should
    > hang up your pedals. Stay off the roads if you can't accept some risk.
    >
    > IMO, no death is insignificant.


    Well I certainly agree with your last comment.

    As to hanging up my pedals and my acceptance of risk. Don't confuse a
    concern for safety with being "afraid." You seem to have a need to
    attack folks for raising points for discussion rather than contributing
    to the discussion.
    FYI I have cycled well over 100,000 miles, have rock climbed for years
    and am a certified instructor, and am a licensed pilot. I have a very
    good understanding of risk. I also have a very good understanding of
    the need to mitigate risk and a very low tolerance for needless
    accidents.
     
  9. gds

    gds Guest

    Roger Zoul wrote:

    >
    > Just for info, what are the numbers for motorist in Tucson? How many deaths
    > and how many reported injuries?


    Don't know! That wasn't part of the article.

    But the issue is not comparing cycling to motoring. The issue is
    making cycling as safe as practical.
     
  10. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> Roger Zoul wrote:
    :>> gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :>> :> Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5
    :>> :> cyclist deaths in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?
    :>>
    :>> No, I'm saying that if that small risk is too much for you that you
    :>> should hang up your pedals. Stay off the roads if you can't accept
    :>> some risk.
    :>>
    :>> IMO, no death is insignificant.
    :>
    :> Well I certainly agree with your last comment.
    :>
    :> As to hanging up my pedals and my acceptance of risk. Don't confuse a
    :> concern for safety with being "afraid." You seem to have a need to
    :> attack folks for raising points for discussion rather than
    :> contributing
    :> to the discussion.
    :> FYI I have cycled well over 100,000 miles, have rock climbed for
    :> years
    :> and am a certified instructor, and am a licensed pilot. I have a very
    :> good understanding of risk. I also have a very good understanding of
    :> the need to mitigate risk and a very low tolerance for needless
    :> accidents.

    Do you really expect to drive the number of accidents that happen to cyclist
    to zero? I'm sure you'd consider that minimal risk, right? And how do the
    numbers for cyclist compare to those of motorist in Tucson?

    Finally, it seems you are the one doing the attacking by asking me if I
    consider a death as insignficant, instead of just dealing with the fact that
    only relatively small numbers of cyclist are killed in Tucson. Why don't
    you come ride over here if you don't like those numbers?
     
  11. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    gds <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> Roger Zoul wrote:
    :>
    :>>
    :>> Just for info, what are the numbers for motorist in Tucson? How
    :>> many deaths and how many reported injuries?
    :>
    :> Don't know! That wasn't part of the article.
    :>
    :> But the issue is not comparing cycling to motoring. The issue is
    :> making cycling as safe as practical.

    That's fine. How do you define practical? Should it be zero deaths in a
    year out of 400,000, or what? How do you propose to get cyclist to stop
    riding the wrong way and drivers to stop right-hooking cyclist. If you
    could figure those out and make them happen, I'd be very much a fan-boy of
    yours, Gary! :)

    IMO, I'd rather be riding in Tucson than in SC (though I think I'd rather
    live here than in Tucson).
     
  12. Wayne Pein

    Wayne Pein Guest

    gds wrote:
    > There have been lots of threads that have discussed cycling as a safe
    > or non safe activity.
    >
    > This weekend a local paper here in Tucson pulished some interesting
    > data. Folks can form their own opinions as to what it means.
    >
    > Tucson has a population of ~400,000.
    >
    > The numbers are year to date.
    >
    > Number of cyclist killed in cycle / vehicle collisons------------ 5
    >
    > Number of REPORTED cyclist / vehicle incidents---------- ~500
    >
    > Police assigned blame about equally beteen cyclists and motorists.
    >
    > #1 fault for cyclists was riding in traffic in the wrong direction.
    >
    > #1 fault for motorists was "hooking" (rt turn into a cyclist)
    >
    > BTW Tucson consistently wins awards as being a bicycle friendly
    > community. And as a resident cyclist I find it a very pleasant place to
    > ride. But these numbers strike me as indicative that cycling has more
    > than minimal risk.
    >


    The mechanism of collisions/circumstances in the deaths is more
    illustrative than the absolute number. If they were all run down from
    behind by hit and run drivers that would be quite different than if they
    were killed doing something blatently stupid like wrong way riding or
    riding at night unlit.

    Right Hooking is more likely on bike lane roads, those bicyclist
    containment areas that some people think are "bicycle friendly."
    Wouldn't it be better if motorists were friendly to actual bicyclists
    irrespective of the infrastructure rather than the inanimate
    infrastructure claimed as being friendly to inanimate bicycles?

    Wayne
     
  13. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 11:50:11 -0800, gds wrote:

    > BTW Tucson consistently wins awards as being a bicycle friendly community.
    > And as a resident cyclist I find it a very pleasant place to ride. But
    > these numbers strike me as indicative that cycling has more than minimal
    > risk.


    Before you jump to such conclusions, consider the corresponding statistics
    for driving. You might be surprised.

    Matt O.
     
  14. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 12:23:08 -0800, gds wrote:

    > Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist deaths
    > in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?


    It seems pretty small to me. Again, check the motoring deaths.

    Matt O.
     
  15. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 22:30:15 +0000, Wayne Pein wrote:

    > Right Hooking is more likely on bike lane roads, those bicyclist
    > containment areas that some people think are "bicycle friendly." Wouldn't
    > it be better if motorists were friendly to actual bicyclists irrespective
    > of the infrastructure rather than the inanimate infrastructure claimed as
    > being friendly to inanimate bicycles?


    Wayne, IME right-hooking is easily avoided by riding defensively, and
    learning to anticipate drivers' actions.

    Matt O.
     
  16. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 13:29:49 -0800, gds wrote:

    > Roger Zoul wrote:
    >> gds <[email protected]> wrote:


    >> :> Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist
    >> :> deaths in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?
    >>
    >> No, I'm saying that if that small risk is too much for you that you
    >> should hang up your pedals. Stay off the roads if you can't accept some
    >> risk.
    >>
    >> IMO, no death is insignificant.

    >
    > Well I certainly agree with your last comment.


    Well who wouldn't?

    > As to hanging up my pedals and my acceptance of risk. Don't confuse a
    > concern for safety with being "afraid." You seem to have a need to attack
    > folks for raising points for discussion rather than contributing
    > to the discussion.
    > FYI I have cycled well over 100,000 miles, have rock climbed for years and
    > am a certified instructor, and am a licensed pilot. I have a very good
    > understanding of risk. I also have a very good understanding of the need
    > to mitigate risk and a very low tolerance for needless accidents.


    OK, we can see you're not a wuss. But you either don't understand
    the significance of these statistics, or you're taking things
    out of context for dramatic effect, and/or to provoke a response. If
    you got this info from a newspaper article, there's a good chance the
    writer was doing just that.

    Matt O.
     
  17. Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > On Mon, 12 Dec 2005 12:23:08 -0800, gds wrote:
    >
    > > Sorry, do I understand you correctly? Are you saying that 5 cyclist deaths
    > > in a year in a town of 400,000 is insignificant?

    >
    > It seems pretty small to me. Again, check the motoring deaths.
    >
    > Matt O.


    I could not find motoring deaths but I did find the Tuscon Police site
    that reported 54 homicides in 2004.

    Somehow cycling does not look so dangerous though it seems to me that
    Ottawa ON with a population in the 700k range had several years with no
    cycling fatalities at all.

    The site says that the Tucson population in 2004 was a bit over
    526,000. so the proportion of the population killed while cycling is
    reduced to 9.491124e-06

    John Kane, Kingston ON Canada
     
  18. gds wrote:
    > Roger Zoul wrote:
    >
    >
    >>Just for info, what are the numbers for motorist in Tucson? How many deaths
    >>and how many reported injuries?

    >
    >
    > Don't know! That wasn't part of the article.
    >
    > But the issue is not comparing cycling to motoring. The issue is
    > making cycling as safe as practical.
    >

    Per, http://www.hwysafety.org/research/fatality_facts/default.html,
    42,636 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2004 in the US.

    I make that as being about 56 deaths per 400,000 people (give or take).
    That's about 11 times worse than the cyclist stats for Tucson. Of
    course, the number of average miles/fatality bike v car will likely be
    vastly different.

    We're comparing apples to oranges.

    Jeff
     
  19. > #1 fault for cyclists was riding in traffic in the wrong direction.
    >
    > #1 fault for motorists was "hooking" (rt turn into a cyclist)


    While I don't think 5 cycling deaths in a city of 400,000 is anything to be
    proud of, I feel better about the most-common reasons for death/injury. In
    each case, the cyclist has some degree of control over what might occur.
    Obviously, riding in the wrong direction is avoidable behavior, and the cars
    making right turns in front of you? I just about assume that's going to
    happen, and ride accordingly. Always looking for the escape route.

    What concerns me most is being run down from behind. That's something I
    can't do a whole lot about, and even a rear-view mirror isn't going to help
    in all cases, probably not most (since being run down from behind typically
    seems to be caused by carelessness, typically a fairly-sudden swerving as
    someone reaches to change their CD or apply makeup or read a map or
    whatever, as opposed to something that can be seen a fair distance away and
    dealt with accordingly).

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
     
  20. > Wayne, IME right-hooking is easily avoided by riding defensively, and
    > learning to anticipate drivers' actions.
    >
    > Matt O.


    Agree completely. Cyclists need to understand that they seem to wear an
    invisibility cloak and cars just don't see them. This also means it's a good
    idea, where practical, to move out into the lane prior to an intersection,
    so that you're both more likely to be seen and not in an area that someone's
    going to turn in front of you.

    In my opinion, if everyone was forced to ride a motorcycle for a while,
    they'd become far more defensive in their driving skills. Motorcycles are
    bigger than bicycles, louder than bicycles, and travel at the same speeds as
    cars, so they *should* be relatively easily seen and anticipated. And yet,
    as a motorcyclist, you end up in far more situations of people merging into
    you than as a bicyclist. As a result, you want clear space on either side of
    you at all times, or at least an escape route on one side.

    --Mike Jacoubowsky
    Chain Reaction Bicycles
    www.ChainReaction.com
    Redwood City & Los Altos, CA USA
     
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